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Growing or picking food in New York City’s public land has been off-limits for almost a century for fear that a glut of foragers may destroy an ecosystem. Swale is an experiential and co-educational edible landscape built on a hopper barge that utilizes marine common law in order to circumvent local public land laws. In this way, Swale is able to dock adjacent to public land and allow people to pick edible and medicinal perennial plants grown onboard for free. While working to shift policies that will increase the presence of edible perennial landscapes, Swale strengthens stewardship of public waterways and land. At Swale, we believe that when treated as a commons, food production can be less polluting, and food access can be more just.


 a  public  floating  food  forest

Thank you for your support of Swale, we couldn't do this work without you!

Swale on the Bronx River at Concrete Plant Park in 2017 and at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in 2018

We want to continue to strengthen stewardship of public waterways and land while shifting policies to increase access to healthy, fresh food for more New Yorkers.  2019 will be a big year for Swale as we build a solid foundation, working towards a permanent location in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We would be so grateful for your continued support!

Your contribution will help bring Swale back to Sunset Park with a year-round greenhouse so that we can facilitate all-season workshops and classes around wellness, healthy ecosystems, public arts & public food.

With your help, our goal is to reach $30,000 in tax-deductible donations. Through these contributions we will  complete the greenhouse and continue to work with educators to facilitate a full year of free workshops and school programs for Title 1 schools. We need you to help us make real change through education and advocacy for a more equitable future!


In partnership with Services for the Underserved, Swale will launch an edible forest garden on Governors Island in 2019. With the NYC Urban Soils Institute, the NYC Urban Field Station and Space HL, Swale will expand programming on Governors Island in Nolan Park at House 15 to include screenings, exhibitions, a participatory soil library, field station and more. We are actively seeking volunteers and financial support for these public resources!

Swale continues to help steward NYC’s first Foodway in Concrete Plant Park in the Bronx, now  in its second year. The Foodway was initiated by Swale with support from community groups. This is the first time NYC Parks has allowed foraging in a public park!

Initiatives like Swale depend on your support!

With Gratitude,

Mary Mattingly

I want to continue to co-present long-term opportunities for New Yorkers to get involved in building ecological resilience and strengthening food as a public commons. Swale began calling attention to issues of food sovereignty in NYC’s neighborhoods because alternate models of community-based food production are critical in building ecological and economic resiliency. Since 2016, Swale has welcomed 205,000 visitors to harvest herbs, fruits and vegetables for free, hosted over 800 guided tours, 75 school field trips, 50 free public programs and 38 Summer Youth Employees, and that’s just the beginning!



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